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We Are All In This Together
Today is Teacher’s Sunday. Allow me to take a moment to reminisce my Sunday School days. I remember Teacher Arlene and the Sundays we spent on a “spaceship.” I remember Teacher Lily, who instilled in me the importance of discipline and proper classroom behavior. I remember Teacher Holly and her commitment to teach every Sunday. I also remember the songs we used to sing (show the song lyrics written by Ate Holly herself). I remember Teacher Aurora and the song she taught us so that we could memorize the books of the New Testament. I also remember her for the popcorn she used to bring every time she was our teacher - good times! I remember Teacher Lorna and Teacher Marjorie and the way they made Children’s church interesting every time they taught us. I remember Kuya Jeffrey and Ate Leonor who took the time to actually bond with us, their students.
20 years ago, I was just like [Ghozua / Val.Jr / Gian / Kim / Althea / Tiffany]. I never would’ve thought I would be speaking here today and remembering my teachers. I find it interesting that I am scheduled to speak on this particular day. Truly, the Lord has a way with surprises. He has been preparing me all these years and I am privileged to stand in front of you today to share with you more about the teaching ministry and the family’s very important part in it, according to the Bible. 3 John 1:4 says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” John wrote to Gaius, commending him for his faithfulness and hospitality to the traveling ministers.
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth - That they adhere steadfastly to the truth, and that they live in accordance with it. This is such language as would be used by an aged apostle when speaking of those who had been converted by his instrumentality, and who looked up to him as a father; and we may, therefore, infer that Gaius had been converted under the ministry of John, and that he was probably a much younger man than he was. John, the aged apostle, says that he had no higher happiness than to learn, respecting those who regarded him as their spiritual father, that they were steadfast in their adherence to the doctrines of religion. The same thing may be:
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(a) of all the ministers of the gospel, that their highest comfort is found in the fact that those to whom they minister, whether still under their care or removed from them, persevere in a steadfast attachment to the true doctrines of religion, and live accordingly; and, (b) of all Christian parents respecting their own children. the highest joy that a Christian parent can have is to know that his children, whether at home or abroad, adhere to the truths of religion, and live in accordance with the requirements of the gospel of Christ. If a child wished to confer the highest possible happiness upon his parents when with them, it would be by becoming a decided Christian; if, when abroad, in foreign lands or his own, he wished to convey intelligence to them that would most thrill their hearts with joy, it would be to announce to them that he had given his heart to God. There is no joy in a family like that when children are converted; there is no news that comes from abroad that diffuses so much happiness through the domestic circle as the intelligence that a child is truly converted to the Saviour. There is nothing that would give more peace to the dying pillow of the Christian parent, than to be able to leave the world with the assurance that his children would always walk in truth.
For teachers/ministers/cell group leaders/spiritual parents, it is a great joy to hear that those we have taught and nurtured are growing in the Lord and are walking in the the truth. It is an encouragement for us to know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain, but is actually bearing fruit.
There are times when we get to the point and think, Am I making a difference? Are any of these worth it? Am I getting anywhere with them [kids, bible study members, congregation, disciples]? The stress of preparing a lesson, setting an example, setting aside your own cares and concerns while we counsel them on their problems – all these are causes of burn out among leaders and teachers. But then comes the news that little Carl-Carl – the one who gave you all those problems years ago in Sunday School – that same Carl-Carl, now a young man, is actively serving the Lord and is passionate in doing his task that the Lord has called him to do. Then all of a sudden, you get all fired up once again. The questions that have been trying to knock you down on your ministry now have answers: YES, IT’S WORTH IT! YES, YOU’RE MAKING A DIFFERENCE! One child at a time, one member at a time, one soul at a time - little by little we sow the seed that is the Word of God into the hearts of our students. And in time, with proper nurture coupled with much prayer, God will make it grow. A few months ago, Ate Holly (my former Sunday School teacher) sent me a message on Facebook:
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“…I guessed your mom and dad are very proud parents to have a daughter that's serving our Lord. Such an inspiration I looked back those years of teaching Children"s church. It brought tears to my eyes to know that one of those little ones is now serving the King of Kings!!! Your such an inspiration Pastor Fred keep on mentioning to our church that out of those little ones is serving God!!! …” I bring this up not to put myself on a pedestal but to give glory to God for the lives of my Sunday School teachers who have been faithful in their calling. Their obedience to God and their commitment to their ministry has made an impact to my life, and for that, I am grateful. And now that I am a Children’s Ministry worker myself, I am looking forward to see my “children” walking in the truth. In fact, I am already seeing some of it now – Abby, who used to be in my Sunday School class, is now a Sunday School teacher as well. Jenalyn, who was Abby’s classmate in Sunday School and was also in my class, is now a Sunday School teacher in VFGFC. So, dear teachers/ministers/leaders/spiritual parents – do not be weary in doing good, for in due season you shall reap if you do not lose heart (Galatians 6:9). II. Parents
What are your dreams for your children? What will it take for you to say to yourself, “I have done well for my children”? When they are well-dressed? Well-fed? Going to good schools? Married and with enough money in the bank to live comfortably? Food, clothing, shelter, education, financial security – these are all good; but not as essential as their need for God. So what if they are well-fed, well-clothed, highly educated, financially secure, if they are doomed for eternity? Parents, your greatest responsibility for your children is to make sure that their spiritual needs are also being met.
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3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” Wouldn’t it be the greatest joy as well as the greatest sense of security for you to know that your children – wherever they are, how old they may be – are walking in the truth? But know this: It is not enough that you bring them to church and let the Sunday School teachers/pastors/cell group leaders do the nurturing. The Bible clearly states that parents are primarily responsible for their child’s spiritual education. The Biblical Role of Parents: Deuteronomy 4:9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deuteronomy 6:7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:18-2118Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. Psalm 78:5-7 5He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, 6so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. 7Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Here are some practical ways to live out your role as the primary spiritual influence of your children, based on Jim Wideman’s article “What is Family Ministry?1”: 1. Establish who’s the king of the castle! Joshua 24:15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
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Growing up with Christian parents, my sisters and I were exposed to the fact that in our family, God is King. As such, the rules my parents implemented were always in line with the Word of God. 2. Pray for your children. James 5:16b “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” *31 Ways to Pray For Your Children 3. Set an example for your children. Your children look up to you as role models. Be sure that you are setting them the right example. If you want your children to know how to forgive, then they must see forgiveness in you. If you want your children to memorize Scriptures, then you must know the Scripture yourself. If you want your children to be generous, then they must know see generosity in you. If you want to teach your children to become tithers and givers, then they should see that you are also doing it. If you want your children to read the Bible, they should see you reading as well. If you want your children to value relationships, they should see it in you – the way you and your spouse value each other, the way you treat others. Include Jesus in every relationship.
4. Your home should be a place of learning God things! Deuteronomy 6:7 “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Schedule a family devotion time where you can learn together. It is a good way to bring the family together at the end of the day and bond as a family in the presence of God. You can pray together, sing, play games together. This is also a great way for your kids to open up to you whatever is happening in their life. Aside from this scheduled family devotion time, parents, make sure to keep your eyes open throughout the day for teachable moments. Jesus taught everywhere He went, anytime He saw an opportunity. Do the same with your kids. Don’t let an opportunity for learning get away, especially if it involves a great lesson about God. 5. Make church, small group, youth group, and serving a priority. Hebrews 10:25 (CEB): Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near. 09232012 – Teacher’s Sunday_zarahlim5
How wonderful it is to see a whole family actively involved in worshipping and serving God. When parents put their foot down and insist on the the sacredness of “keeping the Sabbath day holy,” it not only asserts their role as a spiritual parent, it also reiterates their claim that God is the head of their household. These are just some of the many benefits of getting involved in church activities. a. God is pleased with you. b. It is an encouragement for other believers. c. You have a support-group to turn to. d. Your God-given talents are being developed. e. There is a sense of fulfillment knowing that you are doing your part in advancing God’s kingdom. f. You learn more about yourself – what you can do, who you are, who you are in Christ. g. You learn more about God.
Another thing you can do as a family is to talk about what you have learned in the day’s sermon / small group meeting / bible study and try to relate it to how you can apply them as a family. Parents, you have work to do, but don’t despair, because the rewards are worth it. There is nothing that would give more peace to the dying pillow of the Christian parent, than to be able to leave the world with the assurance that his children would always walk in truth. - Barnes' Notes on the
We are ALL in this together.
The child’s spiritual nurture should be a partnership between the church and the home. Just as the teachers have a responsibility to teach the child in Sunday School, these lessons taught must be reinforced at home. Parents will answer to God, just as much as the Sunday School teachers, for the spiritual nurture of the child entrusted to their care. Are you doing your part? Promote: *Bible Quiz 2012 – an opportunity for parents to partner with the church in performing their role as primary spiritual influencers of their child.
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September 2, 2012 Dear Parents, The Bible is clear in the role of parents in their children’s spiritual training. Deuteronomy 11:18-21 says, “Take these commands to heart and keep them in mind, tying them as reminders on your arm and as bands on your forehead. Teach them to your children, talking about them while sitting in your house, walking on the road, or when you are about to lie down or get up. Also write them upon the doorposts of your house and gates so that you and your children may live long on the land that the Lord promised to give your ancestors – as long as the sky remains above the earth.” More than physical nurture, parents have the responsibility of bringing up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord (Prov.22:6; Eph.6:4; Deut.4:9, Deut.6:6-9). With these in mind, we are pleased to offer you an opportunity to take your parental responsibilities to the next level. We invite you to partner with us in helping your children prepare for the upcoming Bible Quiz Challenge on October 21, 2012 (Sunday) at Binondo Full Gospel Family Center. Here’s what you can do as part of your family devotional time: 1. Help your children understand and memorize ff. passages (NIV version): a. Psalm 23 b. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 c. Matthew 6:9-13 Discuss the meaning and life-application of the ff. parables: a. Sower and the Soils (Matthew 13:3-8; 18-23) b. 10 Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) c. Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:12-14) d. Wise and Foolish Builders (Matthew 7:24-27) e. Lamp Under a Bowl (Matthew 5:14-15) f. Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:23-34) g. Weeds (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) h. Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) i. Valuable Pearl (Matthew 13:45-46) j. Friend in Need (Luke 11:5-13) Recite the 27 books of the New Testament.
As your partners, we in the Children’s Ministry will also discuss all these passages during our Sunday School time. But Sundays are not enough, so we urge you to take your roles as your children’s spiritual parents to heart and talk about these passages at home. Know that the seed that you plant in your children’s hearts will not come up empty. With earnest prayer and proper nurture, it will bear fruit. We pray that you find great joy and fulfillment as you spend time with your children in learning about our Almighty God. Your partners in Christ, Ptra. Zarah Jane E. Lim Children’s Ministry Supervisor Rev. Zaldy U. Lim Senior Pastor
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